Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dog, Rugs, Houseplant, Mice

Our sweet dog Abbey has been working hard to send us to the poorhouse lately. Earlier in the year, there was the mast cell skin cancer. Then last month there was her mammary gland cancer and the subsequent doggie mastectomy. And then last week, she got a hematoma in her ear, a big squishy puddle of blood under her skin as if she were a boxer from olden times headed for a nice case of cauliflower ear. It turns out that that's exactly what she would have ended up with if we hadn't taken her to the vet, but we did so she doesn't. Instead, we have let our vet swipe our credit card yet again and we sigh as we try to plan to pay off the resulting balance.

In recent years, I have made great strides in living within a budget and keeping a firm handle on my love of buying and shopping, but it always seems like something unplanned for comes by and disrupts our plans for saving or the extra things outside the normal day-to-day budgeting. Currently, the "extra" I am longing for is a rug for our living room. We had one that was a very light off-white. In our living room in Connecticut, the traffic pattern was such that it held up quite well and didn't ever get too dirty. Here in our new house, however, it was always walked on and after a year here looked just AWFUL. I was struck with a deep regret about purchasing a so-nearly-white rug 4 years ago and wished I gotten one that was more the color halfway between dirt and our dog's hair. (A brief aside: if you are ever in the position to choose the color of grout for a floor, get grout the color of dirt. You will not be sorry.) I sold the rug on Craigslist before I realized that our ability to purchase a new one was going to be delayed by Abbey's various and sundry illnesses, so we currently have no rug at all in the living room. A fact which I find slightly depressing every time I'm in there.

Actually, I've sold a number of things on Craigslist and eBay lately, and we also have taken a HUGE load of books, DVDs, and CDs to Half Price Books. (A store I missed very much when we lived in Connecticut-- what a happy, happy place...) We are in a mood for purging. It is partly that we have been in the house for a full year now and it is easy to look around and think, "I have not once used/touched/looked for/thought about that item." Do I really want to store and dust and give space in my house to things I don't use in an entire year? No, dear reader, I do not. Rob has grown more supportive of the simple-living, purging aesthetic lately as well, so now I meet less resistance about getting rid of things. In fact, he may currently exceed me in his zeal to clean out. Our desire to purge was also whetted by the recent move of some of our close friends away from Dallas. We helped just a tiny bit (well, really it was just Rob helping as I was standing around with Violet in the Ergo and keeping Grace out of trouble) and all the horror and misery of moving came crashing back into our memory, making us very eager to own less stuff. And finally, I think we are eager to purge because we are feeling more convinced that we will be moving away from Dallas in the not-too-distant future. Letting go of material possessions is much easier when you are faced with the prospect of moving them.

We haven't been entirely successful about culling our possessions and actually gained a very large one recently. The academic year in medicine runs from July to July so a cohort of people (including the afore-mentioned friends) just graduated and finished their programs; one of Rob's colleagues who was finishing and moving across the country asked us to take their houseplant. When he came by with it, I was a bit surprised by its SIZE. It is significantly bigger than Grace is, a good 4 feet tall or so. I don't think Rob's friend realized that we are not really plant people; this is in fact the very first houseplant we have had in our married lives. I am assuming that he saw that we have children, a dog, a garden, etc and thought we must be responsible, nurturing types who could care for a plant. Hopefully he is right; so far, it appears to still be alive.

As we have entered July and the medical academic year has rolled over, Rob has moved from clinical responsibilities (i.e. seeing patients) into the research section of his fellowship. He no longer sees any patients but instead will work in a lab doing experiments with proteins in cells and running gels and whatnot. The specific proteins he will be working with come from cells that come from mice, it turns out. The mice do not require Rob to wear a tie or a pager, which is nice, but he is a little unsure about how much he is going to enjoy this endeavor. He does get to take a bunch of orientations with amusing and/or attention-getting names like "Radiation Safety" and "Mouse Handling". Mouse Handling! All about mice, and how to go about handling them!


amydove said...

So much to comment on! Re the rug: I myself have been looking at rugs and other things to decorate the new rooms I will have at my new house, in particular the formal living room. My mom keeps suggesting whitish furniture that I can jazz up with accessories. But I have a cat with both black and white hair, so anything but my current beige-ish furniture really would be a nightmare! I definitely feel your pain.

Do you guys have an idea of where you might move?

And lastly, one of my best friends from college has used rats in her research since college. It does provide for quite amusing jokes and stories. Of course, she did have projects in which she had to artificially inseminate them... Anyway, it sounds like Rob will have a more relaxed schedule which should be great.

amydove said...

Hmm, I believe my previous quite lengthy comment is a result of the fact that my only social interaction these days is via the internet. Sorry!

Christy@pipandsqueak said...

I need to follow your lead and clean out (as you saw yesterday at our house). I have a huge pile of books just ready to take to 1/2 price and a pile of cloth diapers we no longer use as well.

Eva said...

I have been meaning to clear out some old clothes for a while, you just gave me the inspiration I needed. The only good thing about living in tiny European apartments is that they physically prevent you from gathering too much stuff, there is simply no room for it. Good luck with the plant!.

Kimberly said...

One of my next "lazy posts" that I am going to write is "What I like about my house" and one of the points is that it is small. That, THEORETICALLY, keeps us from accumulating too much stuff. It isn't as good as my 400 square foot apartment that I had before marriage, but still.

Rugs. We have found, through trial and error, that the BEST rugs are oriental rugs. The fake olefin ones, actually, though we do have a Persian knock off 8X11 that is wool and was stupidly on sale. We got two solid "filler" rugs from Ikea to coordinate with the afore mentioned Persian. NO SUCH LUCK. Well, they coordinate okay, but our long haired caramel colored cat with white markings leaves her hair ALL OVER THEM.

There. That is all I have to say about that.

Kathy said...

Ooooh do tell! Nosey friends want to know where you're off to next! And yes, purging is good. Very very good. We just had a big garage sale and I was amazed and what stuff we had that we just don't need.

Emily said...

I had the same exact thing with our white rug! Oh, how I hated it. Cam convinced me in the middle of an IKEA shopping spree that we needed a white shag rug. It was bad. I couldn't even get anyone to buy, so I finally just gave it away.

Our Lowe's has a section for berber carpet remnants. We got a big rug (11'x13') for less than $100. I was going absolutely nuts with the rug before, but was so happy to find something I liked and that was a good price.